Polte 9mm Experimental Board


The Woodin Lab recently had the following photos of a strange Polte board sent me. The two rounds on the board are headstamped “P * 1 39” and “P Ex 39” and Bill believes and I agree that this pretty well dates the Board to 1939.

Bill says:

There are two very interesting bullets on the board. The first is the Hollow bullet pictured below.

The completed bullet is missing leaving only the sectioned bullet and jacket. I have no idea what the use would be for an ultra lightweight bullet with a large cavity in the center. Bill brought up this board as we were talking about the German “poison” bullets and we speculated that this could have been the beginning of such a project. A strange bullet with a very unusual ogive for a German 9mm of the period.

The other is the sintered bullet on the right side of the board.

First. 1939 is VERY early for a sintered iron 9mm bullet. The sintered bullets seem to have been originally developed by VDM located near Karlsruhe. VDM documents indicate that on 15 June 1939, Major Kurz of Wa Prűf 1 wrote a letter to VDM concerning the concept of sintered core bullets. This letter indicated trials were conducted with jacketed infantry bullets (7.92mm) with Metallwqarenfabrik, Treuenbrietzen, Belzig Works (hla). In July 1939 the infantry bullets being tested had a weight of 9g which was too light and Herr Polke requested VDM produce 10g bullets. Due to difficulties in producing a sintered core with the sharp tip, bullets were produced with the cylindrical portion of the core from sintered iron, and the tips were made separately from iron wire using a rivet press. The production of 10g bullets was very difficult and the work in 7.92mm was apparently dropped.

In January 1940, VDM was granted a patent on “pistol bullets without jackets” These sintered iron pistol bullets (in 9mm) were produced using the normal VDM presses (Weingarten presses) and per Herr Polke’s wishes, the firing trials were carried out by Genschow in Durlach (dnh). These totally sintered bullets had a problem with the bullet tips breaking off so manufacturing plans were changed to jacketed bullets with sintered cores. The sinter core bullets were never produced and only a single specimen is known. The SE bullets by VDM did not begin production until 1943.

The early 1940 work by VDM was the earliest know 9mm SE bullet development known. It is now clear that Polte was working with SE bullets in 9mm as early as 1939.

The SE bullet on this board is 15.4mm long and weighs 68grs. There is a hole for mounting so the original weight was about 71grs. This is over 20 grs lighter than the VDM bullets introduced in 1943 and was apparently considerably lower density.

Since Polte was occupied by the Russians, the story on these cartridges and many, many more is probably detailed in the material about to be destroyed in Russia (https://forum.cartridgecollectors.org/t/shocking-news-from-russia/9841/1).

Thanks to Mr Hawkings for the photos!




The hollow core 9mm bullet reminds me somewhat of the M.E.N. “PTP” 9mm copper bullets.


Lew, do you have more pictures of the rest of the cartridges mounted in this board?


Fede, I have photos, but they are just very standard ball and the sectioned Ex!!! I can send them to you if you’d like.



Not that I know anything about or that I am even the one to comment on this at all. But as for the hollow projectile the following comes to my mind:
1- If for poisonous materials how should the material be emitted from the projectile on impact when no feature for rupturing the jacket is recognizeable?
2- Also the base of the projectile seems very thin. Might it be possible that the gas pressure would pierce it during the firing process?
3- Did the cavity contain a steel core maybe which fell off from the cutaway?
4- If the projectile was supposed to be fired as shown it might have expanded quite well (if the base was still intact then)

#3 would be the most likely for me.

Again, just my thought…


EOD, Good analysis! I agree that it is hard to see how this could be a poison bullet unless there is something missing that fit the cavity and broke apart the jacket.

On my website at http://gigconceptsinc.com/Exp-Polte-mE-blts.html are a series of Polte drawings of early mE bullets and they did experiment with a lot of different core shapes going back to 1937, but always retained the normal P08 bullet ogive. By 1-11-39 they had arrived at the standard mE core design. This could be another of the series leading to the mE design, but it seems to be out of step with the previous designs.

Your points 2 and 4 are linked. I have a hard time seeing how that lead core could keep from being forced forward and wadded into the cavity. It would have to be an extremely strong lead to prevent distortion and operate as an expanding bullet. Possible but hard to conceive. The only possibility is that what looks like a lead core really isn’t!!!

My bet is basically the same is yours. There was something in the cavity that got lost along the way. It could have been Iron/steel, or it could have been a plastic or it could have been a tar like material or it could have been aluminum or who knows. I don’t think the “missing thing” was a poison core.

A very interesting bullet. Thanks for the thoughts.